The Orlandos (Pittsburg)
Ronnie Williams (Lead Tenor)
Nate Thomas (Tenor)
Roger Randolph (Tenor)
Charles Raeford (Baritone)
Wallace Berry (Bass)
1957 - Cloudburst / Old MacDonald (Cindy 3006)
The Orlandos emerged from the same postwar Pittsburgh doo wop community that also launched the careers of the El Capris and the Four Dots. According to Marv Goldberg's profile in the January 2006 issue of Blues & Rhythm, the Orlandos formed in 1954 in the Steel City's low-income Whittaker Projects. At the time, lead tenor Gary Jenkins, tenors Joe Murphy and Roger Randolph, baritone Charles Raeford, and bass John Crowder were all 14-year-olds attending Homeville Junior High School. A few months later Jenkins, Murphy, and Raeford all exited the Orlandos. Lead tenor Ronnie Williams, tenor Nate Thomas, and bass Wallace Berry were named their replacements, with Crowder shifting to baritone as a result of the shuffle.
By 1955 the Orlandos were a fixture at Pittsburgh-area record hops, in time catching the attention of WCAE radio personality Jay Michael. Through Michael, they were introduced to erstwhile Roulette Records owner George Goldner, who in 1957 signed the group to his fledgling Cindy label. That summer the Orlandos traveled to Detroit for an aborted recording session. Weeks later, they headed to New York City, cutting the Williams original "Cloudburst" as well as the traditional "Old MacDonald." Goldner did nothing to promote the single, and despite a series of live dates throughout the Midwest, "Cloudburst" went nowhere and soon after Thomas exited the lineup, relocating to Detroit and later filling in with the Four Palms. With replacement tenor Lee Smalls, the Orlandos forged on, but as the various members pursued day jobs and romance, the group finally split in 1960.
Cloudburst Old MacDonald
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